MICHAEL BENNETT: Lies, Damn Lies, and the San Jose Mercury News

As a blogger, I speak for myself.  If I get too far out of line, the Missoulian is free to pull the plug, but they don’t tell me what to say, and people can consider the source in deciding how much weight to give my scribbling.

When a newspaper prints an unsigned editorial under its masthead, however, the newspaper is entitled to state its opinions, but it is putting its reputation behind any factual information the editorial contains.  That’s why the San Jose Mercury News editorial reprinted in today’s Missoulian is such a good example of why people don’t (and shouldn’t) trust what we euphemistically refer to as the “mainstream media”.

The Mercury News either lied, or more likely, didn’t bother to fact check the talking points it received from the Democratic National Committee.  In attacking Paul Ryan, it asserted that “Ryan would turn Medicare into a voucher program, with the voucher’s value growing more slowly each year than the cost of medical services.  Those under 55 would no longer have a guaranteed benefit.  In retirement they’d pay thousands more every year for medical care than they now can expect.”

One can argue about the merits or lack thereof or Ryan’s plan, but what the Mercury News is attacking is not Ryan’s plan.  It is a proposal that Ryan has long since replaced.  Ryan’s current proposal, co-authored by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, has nothing to do with vouchers, and guarantees that Medicare recipients pay the same for the same level of benefits as under current law.

For the Mercury News, which is supposedly in the business of informing people, to either purposely lie about this, or else be so uninformed themselves that they believed Democrat campaign operative’s lies, is outrageous.  For the Missoulian to reprint the lie is to give it credence it does not deserve.

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